30 January 2010

A decade

If there's one thing I could take away from this past week, and only one, it would be that the fire burning within is what we have, and it's up to us to stoke it. I am doing my best to devote time and energy to the work I want to do most, to put off the housework before I put off the writing. Everyone has much to juggle; I have less than many, but one of the tricky things to keep aloft is my own ambition, my need to tell these stories.

It's not easy to spend so much of one's time doing something -- striving for some kind of mastery -- that is largely invisible to everyone. In Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hours concept, if you spend eight hours of every day doing one thing you wanted to master, it would take you 1,000 days of practicing to become really good at it. That's eight hours every day, which almost never happens. So double your 1,000 days, or more realistically quadruple them, and maybe you're talking about 10-12 years to achieve mastery, unless you are blessed with lots of time every single day for your practice. Or you set a specific goal: a novel by a certain deadline, a marathon you want to complete, and you structure everything around meeting that goal. That's how I haven't been thinking but how I'd like to switch.

This practice feeds me, too: I feel so grateful for every day and every minute I can write. And dance, love, walk, be here, be with you.

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